Seasonal Affective Disorder

Seasonal Affective Disorder

As many of you know by now, here at Guide to HR, we take mental health seriously. And as many of us have gotten back into the groove of work, some may still be struggling. January is said to be the most depressing or difficult month to get through in the year. For many, winter is painful. Most of the United States is still undergoing cold weather, making it harder for people to get to work. While many of us love snow and get so excited when it begins to fall, especially during the holiday season, it is a pain for others. Having to wake up earlier to have enough time to put on extra layers of clothes, clean snow off the car, shovel your way out of the driveway, and warm up your car can feel overwhelming. Not to mention the sun is out less, the days are shorter, and you may be less likely to plan fun activities because of the weather. All of this can feel so overwhelming that we no longer enjoy life. If this all sounds familiar to you, and perhaps you have been feeling this way all winter, you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder (SAD). And we want to give you some tips and information to help you get through the remainder of this season.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal Affective Disorder is a type of depression that occurs during certain seasons. It typically happens during the winter and fall months, although it can occur during the spring and summer. It is said that shorter days and less daylight can result in a chemical change in the brain, leading to depression.


People who struggle with SAD may experience symptoms starting late fall or early winter. They typically resolve during the sunnier days of spring and summer. People who struggle during the summer and spring months are the opposite. They usually start having symptoms during the early spring or summer months. Some symptoms include:


  • Feeling sluggish or having low energy
  • Sleeping too much, especially during daytime hours
  • Overeating and gaining weight 
  • Having a difficult time concentrating
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, or hopeless 
  • Experiencing suicidal thoughts or not wanting to live
  • Feeling sad or depressed the majority of the day, week, or month
  • Lost interest in fun activities 
  • Feeling anxious, restless, upset
  • Violent behavior
  • Insomnia 
  • Social withdraw
  • Physical problems such as headaches

The Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation in the Workplace

What Causes SAD

Many researchers have concluded that lack of sunlight and shorter days contribute to SAD. Also, melatonin is said to cause SAD. “Melatonin is a natural hormone that’s mainly produced by your pineal gland in your brain. It plays a role in managing your sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythm.” This occurs because our bodies produce more melatonin as the days get shorter, and we lose more daylight.

Treating SAD

Temporary Feelings

As mentioned, SAD is a seasonal type of depression. As hard as it is to go through that season of difficulty, remember it is temporary. You will smile again.

Break the Cycle

Although those who struggle with SAD will experience temporary symptoms, it is better not to experience symptoms at all. You can break the cycle of this disorder by understanding what causes you to struggle with SAD in the first place. 


One way to help you achieve an understanding of the root cause of your struggle is by going to therapy or seeking counseling. 

Create New Traditions

Many of us look forward to the holidays because it is an exciting time of year, but once the holidays are over, some of us no longer have anything to look forward to. But you can change your narrative by creating new traditions during the winter months. You could pick a day to treat yourself outside your routine or start a family holiday. You have the power to create your own fun.

Spend Time in the Sun

Another way to help is to spend as much time as possible in the sun and daylight. If you work from home, open the blinds and pull back the curtains to all your windows. If you work in a building, consider having lunch by a window. If possible, take a break outside or in your car. 

Other Treatments

  • Light Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Antidepressants
  • Surround Yourself with Family and Friends
  • Eat Healthy Meals
  • Exercise Regularly


We know this time of year can be tough, but hang in there. For more tips and information, be sure to subscribe to our blog. As always, we are here for you.

The Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation in the Workplace

The Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation in the Workplace

The Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation in the Workplace

Subscribe to Blog via Email

%d bloggers like this: